'Donald Trump visiting Black church in Detroit to show he's not racist’

Presidential candidate Donald Trump (C) speaks to the media after meeting with a group of black pastors at his office in the Manhattan borough of New York  © Lucas Jackson
Before announcing at trip to Detroit and meet Black people, Trump hadn't visited a Black church, Democratic strategist and former communications director for the Sanders campaign, Symone Sanders told Ed Schultz's RT program, News with Ed.

Donald Trump is making an effort this week to court Black voters by sitting down with Bishop Wayne T Jackson of Detroit. Trump will visit the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit and tape an interview with Bishop Jackson on issues facing the Black community.

RT: This sounds like a pretty heavy lift for Donald Trump in the African-American community. Is he doing the right thing by sitting down with a Bishop in Detroit?

Symone Sanders: I am glad that Donald Trump is finally going to go to a community, going to go to an African-American church and attempt to do some real outreach by actually speaking to some Black people, because he hasn't done that throughout this campaign. But… he's going to do an interview with the pastor that leans his way, as opposed to doing an interview with an actual African-American outlet. I did an op-ed this week for Blavity and I talked about how Donald Trump hasn't sat down with Ebony, with Jet. He hasn’t sat down with Essence or Blavity. He hasn't done any African-American serving outlets. He also hasn’t done any Latino outlets; you have Univision, Telemundo, El Pais and so on. Prior to Detroit, he hasn't been to a Black church since he announced his candidacy for president. So, we'll see what it looks like when I Donald Trump gets to Detroit this weekend.

RT: Insiders are telling me that Donald Trump is going to make an appeal to the African-American community in this country. He is going to ask African-Americans, the Black community to look at Black youth unemployment and point to the fact that it has gotten worse under President Obama, that there really are no programs that will reverse these numbers. He is going to say that he is a job grower, that he can turn this around. Do you think that will move anybody on the issue at all?

SS: No, I don't. There are documented instances from folks who have worked for Donald Trump who have noted that he has removed African-American dealers from the floor of his casinos because people attending those casinos and gambling their money didn't want to see an African-American person dealing them. He has documented complaints from folks that worked for his companies at Trump Tower that said he had discriminated against them; they were treated unfairly through the hiring practices while at the company. So I really don't think so. I think Donald Trump is wrong actually, there are lots of programs for African-American young people, there are lots of job programs. There aren't as many programs as there were maybe 20 or 25 years ago. And we need a president that is going to help create jobs for the inner cities and I just don't think that is Donald Trump. He hasn't given us any remedy to this rhetoric.

RT: He has basically said directly to African-Americans ‘what do you have to lose?’ What do you have to lose?

SS: I have to lose my dignity. We have a chance for real change in this country. That is what we have to lose, a real partnership - a president that wants to be a partner and not a president that wants to demean and use divisive language, and that is what we have to lose voting for Donald Trump. I am the former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders; I worked for lots of other candidates. When you and I work for Bernie who was accused of not speaking to African-Americans, they said we had a Black problem. What did we do? We went in there, we went right into communities, we talked to people, we met with folks and we put forth real policy to speak to the communities we wanted to reach. That is what Donald Trump needs to do.

I don’t like to give free advice, but that is what he needs to do and that is not what his campaign is doing. Frankly, they’re not doing it because this pitch to African-American voters isn’t to reach African-American voters at all. This pitch is to pacify the base, not Donald Trump’s base, but the Republican Party base that doesn't want to vote for somebody that folks are saying is a racist, for somebody who is saying he is divisive. That pitch is not for Black voters, it is for the base of the Republican Party that is jumping ship.

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